A funny grumpy knitter

Happy knitaversary to me,

Happy knitaversary to me,

Happy knitaversary, dear Grumpy,

Happy knitaversary to me!

And many more!

Who knew? About one year ago I went to a friend’s baby shower, witnessed the gifting of a hand-crocheted baby blanket, and everything changed. I wanted to be able to do that, too!

I ordered Pam Allen’s Knitting for Dummies, because I thought the blanket was knit, and read it with zest, cover to cover. Even though I didn’t know my left knitting needle from my left butt cheek, I made insightful notes like this one:

I also knit pretty much every stitch pattern Pam presents in the book. I happen to have saved my swatches from those days, knit in the delightfully-petroleum-smelling Red Heart acrylic. I totally didn’t know any better back then, I didn’t even know what LYS stands for! But look how pretty!

Here I made stripes! But look, every other row is twisted because I hadn’t yet figured out how to purl to produce untwisted stitches. This is true for all the swatches and all the knitting I did for a while!

I started this swatch before I learned how to bind off, so I k2tog until all the stitches were eaten up!

In this one I was experimenting with making big holes in inappropriate places. Very handy skill and obviously a design element. Obviously. Because everyone needs holes under their bobbles.

Every other row is twisted, AND I make a cool shape, AND I use intarsia. This Red Heart swatch belongs in a museum!

I may have tried my hand at crochet. Ignore if this is too painful too look at :).

After a dozen little swatches and confidence that I can interpret Knitterese, it was time for my first project. Garter stitch scarf? I don’t think so. This thing:

My special modifications for this project:

  • Joining balls right in the middle of the row, right in the middle of the blanket. ‘Cuz I’m cool like that.
  • Weaving in ends for at least 10 inches. ‘Cuz nothing is more inconspicuous than long-ass portions with doubled yarn.
  • Zero knowledge of the existence of “macro” mode in digital cameras. Who needs a good picture of her first knitting project anyway?
  • “Fixing” the one dropped stitch I made by looking at it with utmost confusion and seriousness.
  • Knitting the thing on bamboos. Very tightly. With a lot of teeth grinding.

The experience wasn’t useless, though. I REALLY enjoyed knitting, and I couldn’t wait to start a new project after this one was finished. Also, shortly after starting the blanket, I finally realized that I was twisting every other row (the purl rows). Then I had an AHA moment when someone clued me in – I was purling in the Combined Method, while knitting Western. A short trip to Annie Modesitt’s website changed my knitting life.

And here I am, one year later, looking at those funky swatches and wondering how that dropped stitch held up after a few washes… all while working on my own sock and t-shirt pattern. I’m a funny grumpy knitter.


45 thoughts on “A funny grumpy knitter

  1. Carolyn

    I love it! I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting for one year! You really dive in and study a hobby. Good for you! Happy Knitting Anniversary!

  2. jacey

    happy knitversary! I’ll have to remember that, mine will be coming up in 6 months – lol. My beginnins looked much like yours, same knitting for dummies book and lotsa red heart acrylic — eeek. congrats, you’ve come a long way.

  3. Christie

    Lookityou!!! Amazing that you’re designing your own t-shirt and that you can look back at your stinky Red Heart swatches and see how far you’ve come. I love the notes in the margins.

  4. LisaB

    You should be so proud of yourself! You have come a long way in a year. In one year you have taught yourself to knit AND design for yourself. Pretty darn spectacular if you ask me. 🙂

  5. nikki

    Holy Schmokes! Grumperina has only been knitting ONE YEAR?! Dang. You have some seroius knitting skills. I bet you’re left-handed. 😉

  6. Illanna

    Hi! When people find out that you’ve only been knitting for a year, are they usually shocked? Your knitting is so beautiful and your skills have honed quickly. I also have only been knitting for a year, but I think that fearless people are the ones that progress quickly. I’m so happy to see another knitter who is not AFRAID to knit and design and create. Thank you 🙂

  7. freecia


    I just hit my knitaversary too. But I need to nudge myself back to my sweater and baby cardi project :).

  8. spaazlicious

    Wow, add my “holy crap” to the pile of general astonishment! That is a steep-ass learning curve you got there, yes indeedy.

    I purled “the wrong way” too until a LYS lady told me so. Unfortunately, she did it in such a way it made me want to write your margin notes on her forehead, but hey, my stitches aren’t twisted any more so it’s all good.

    I came here from Tara Dirty Purl’s site, and you are definitely one of my favourite new-to-me blogs. Happy kniterversary!

  9. jody

    Great overview. As someone who’s only been reading your blog for a month or two, I really enjoyed the background.

    And I’m super-impressed that you’ve only been knitting a year!

  10. Judy

    Happy knitaversary from me, too! I can say “I knew you when” from the knitting.about site…I think I remember that “aha” moment, too. Congratulations on a VERY busy year!!

  11. Tara

    Man, you’re like a knitting prodigy or something! I just started making one ugly ass garter stitch scarf after another…. egads!

    LOVE the note in the book by the way.

  12. Kate

    Happy Knitaversary!

    it’s funny to learn how people learned to knit! I think you are doing a great job for only knitting a year! I would have bet $100 it was more. Yeah, the first project was a little ambitious, but I always say “at least you know what NOT to do now”. 🙂


  13. CursingMama

    Those swatches are priceless! I trashed everything from my first attempts in total embarassment. Of course my first attempts came with some Red Heart and a pair of chopsticks….Michaels was closed when the spirit moved me.

    Happy Knitaversary!

  14. Teri

    Happy knitaversary. All I can say is wow, you’ve come a long way. I love your Tivoli T design, plan to use it for my next project.

  15. naomi

    Wow! That’s really impressive for a year’s accomplishments. I insulated myself from the world of knitting books and patterns for a year (okay, so it was living in a small college town bubble that did most of the work), so I hadn’t done anything *like* as much. Nice job!

  16. Jean

    Congratulations! I’ve only been knitting since March of this year, so this is very inspirational for me. I twisted stitches my first month of knitting, in the exact same way! Once I figured it out, my stockinette looked SO much more attractive.

  17. Andrea

    Happy knitaversary (and thanks for posting the gallery of knit-adversity that you have clearly overcome in the past year)! Funny, I think I started out knitting swatches in blue and cream Lion-Brand ChunkyUSA…but your swatches are infinitely more entertaining than mine were.

  18. Rebekah

    OKay slap me silly and call me impressed, you’ve only been knitting a year! Wow! You must be a knitting savant. I really am impressed.

  19. Cheryl

    I’m so impressed that you are designing and all. You’ve come a long way baby! Very inspirational for those who want to start knitting.

  20. Angela

    Happy Knitaversary!

    I’m a relatively new reader to your blog but I love it! I’ve been knitting almost a year and a half and haven’t even reached your level yet! Congraaaaats on all your accomplishments. BTW, you’re my inspiration to learn the combined method. I learned English and switched to Continental almost a year ago.

  21. Jenifer

    Oh, a big congrats to you!! My life is richer for your blogging. (Really!) I can’t believe you’ve only been knitting a year! (I’ve been knitting for two, so twice as long as you – ha.) Oh, those early days of experimentation… weren’t they great? I’m glad you saved your swatches … I threw mine out to make room for more yarn some time ago. Happy blogiversary to you! Go knit up a grumpy (yet awesome) storm tonight! (And P.S., still sending boyfriend karma your way …)

  22. Happy

    Oh Happy Day!! I really enjoyed the swatches. Isn’t it neat to look back and see how far you’ve come? I wonder what I’ll venture to do once I’ve been knitting for a year…. I’m still mulling over the use of Combined Knitting. I want to do it, but I get so confused after doing it the “normal” way for this long.

  23. Tari

    I can’t believe how far you’ve come in such a short time, and the fact that you actually learnt it from a book is just amazing! This gives me inspiration to go and buy myself a book about crocheting, because that’s oen thing I would like to learn and I don’t know anyhow who can teach me.

  24. lynne s of oz

    Congrats – knitting for only a year! I only found you two weeks or so ago! Am dying to start a Tivoli tshirt in some Australian yarn but I must finish my vogue jacket first….

  25. Leslie

    Tks for taking us down memory lane! My knitting experience is similar to yours…I received an adorable handknit sweater for my third child and immediately bought Knitting for Dummies too and read it cover to cover. Soon I was addicted and now 3 years later, I have about 25 knitting books and yarn waiting for the next project (let’s not discussed UFOs). I think the planning of the project (yarn buying and pattern selection and just starting the project are the best part of knitting).

  26. natasha fialkov

    i started this past november and have been crazy about it also…i twisted all of my stitches, and was managing to do a knit stitch in the way i thought was a purl. teaching oneself is a whole different ball of wax. and i realized after i was told that i was knitting “wrong” from annie’s website that i had taught myself in the combination method, somehow, and everyone thought i was strange, and would ask if i was a leftie…although i think i may be ambidextrous, i do favor my left hand for lots of things. it is a nice feeling for people to be stunned that you have only knitted for such a brief time. but it is all about pushing yourself to learn and try new things and be unafraid of screwing things up, which strangely many people are terrified of.

    in closing, congrats. i love your bloggy, and am about 1/3 done with my bastardized version of your lovely tivoli. but i learned a lot from her.

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